Meth Case `Explodes’

Page News and Courier The Valley Banner

HARRISONBURG - A tip to a social worker about drug activity at a Harrisonburg apartment last month sparked a major methamphetamine investigation that has so far led to raids on at least four homes in Rockingham and Page counties.

Special Agent Mark Campbell of the Virginia State Police, who heads the RUSH Drug Task Force, said the case continues to unfold.

"All of a sudden, it kind of exploded on us," Campbell said. "Once we connected one dot, it led us to another and another and another."

Myrtle Street Raid

The investigation began Jan. 12, when the task force - made up of officers from the Harrisonburg Police Department, Rockingham County Sheriff's Office and state police - raided an apartment at 611 Myrtle St. in Harrisonburg.

Police say they found an inactive meth lab at the apartment.

Investigators then interviewed the targets of the raid, April Chacon and Aaron Bledsoe, both of whom made incriminating statements against themselves, according to an affidavit for a search warrant.

The pair told police they had purchased pseudoephedrine packs and took them to Scott Lam's residence in Elkton, where they claimed that he would make methamphetamine.

Pseudoephedrine, an ingredient that can be found in many over-the-counter cold medicines, is a precursor used to manufacture meth, a highly addictive stimulant.

"April Chacon in her interview indicated that during these cooks of methamphetamine she observed up to four people shaking Gatorade bottles to help activate the cooking process and indicated that Aaron Bledsoe has been one of those four," the search warrant affidavit states.

The process is known as the "one-pot method" of making meth.

According to court documents, Chacon is a self-admitted meth cook and was caught with a one-pot lab in her Myrtle Street home, although police say it wasn't in use at the time of the raid.

Chacon said Lam cooked meth at his home four times a day.

Shenandoah Raids

On Jan. 26, RUSH, along with the Northwest Drug Task Force, raided a home at 333 Judds Lane in Shenandoah.

According to court documents, the raid's target, Angie Dovel, is a known meth dealer in Page County.

Dovel, the affidavit states, told investigators that she had been to Lam's residence, where she snorted meth, and that he also had delivered the drug to her home for her to try at no cost.

Based on information Dovel provided, police performed a consent search at a home at 11165 Ridgeview Lane in Shenandoah. Joseph Anderson was the target of the search, but the search warrant affidavit didn't state if he was the homeowner.

"During the consent encounter [at the Ridgeview Lane home], there were numerous people at the residence using illegal narcotics with hypodermic needles," the affidavit states.

During the investigation, police interviewed Emily Woodell, who stated that for about a month, she observed Lam and Bledsoe making the drug.

"While inside [Lam's] residence, Emily Woodell observed Scott Lam in the bathroom" making meth, the affidavit states.

Woodell, according to court documents, claimed that Lam had been manufacturing meth at the home for a year.

On Jan. 31, Jonathan Brown, a Rockingham County Jail inmate incarcerated for a probation violation, told investigators that he lived with Lam in December and early January.

"Mr. Brown stated that he was trying to learn how to make methamphetamine from Scott Lam but had trouble trying to figure out the exact measurements with the chemicals in order to make it," the affidavit states.

On the same day, an investigator spoke with an Elkton police officer, who pulled over a white Mitsubishi Eclipse on Jan. 17 for running a red light. The car was occupied by Lam and his girlfriend, Linda Guyer, according to the affidavit.

Police searched the vehicle and found five bags of marijuana and an unspecified amount of methamphetamine.

Guyer, 43, of Elkton, was arrested and charged with felony drug possession. She was released from jail on a $3,500 unsecured bond.

Lam, who declined to speak to police during the traffic stop, was not charged at that time.

Elkton Raid

On Feb. 8, RUSH agents raided Lam's home at 21282 Hensley Hollow Road in Elkton, where police say they hauled off 50 items, including components of a meth lab.

Lam, 47, is charged with two felony counts of manufacturing methamphetamine and one felony count of possession of methamphetamine.

After being booked into the county jail, Lam was released on a $5,000 secured bond. He's scheduled to make his first court appearance in Rockingham County General District Court on Feb. 27.

Campbell said charges are pending against the other suspects and that cases could be presented to a grand jury on Tuesday.

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